Voices of the Soul can take many forms. In this week’s episode, I explore this chapter in my book and dig deep into the soil of life with Dr. Laura Grace.
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My book, Love Lies Beneath: How Reclaiming My Soul Through Story Became The Secret To Healing My Heart is available in paperback and as a Kindle at Amazon.
Author, Jungian counselor, and nighttime dream specialist, Dr. Laura Grace is my special guest for this episode. We’re doing something a bit different. Laura asks me questions about the chapter in my book called Dragons & Zombies.
In this session, we talk about the power of going to the Roots, the true nature of dragons and zombies, and the power of imagery.
Zette Harbour 0:02
Welcome to Love Lies Beneath. I’m Zette Harbour. I’m glad to have you here. Do you feel like stress, fear or pain take up way too much of your energy? Have you wondered if you’ll ever be free of that heaviness of your past? Do you long to feel as good on the inside as your life looks on the outside?
Zette Harbour 0:44
In this podcast, you’ll discover the story of who you really are, and how to set yourself free. Together, we’re going to travel into those wild spaces of our inner landscapes, and dive deeply into the rich soil of our lives, reclaiming Soul through Story and healing our Hearts. My book, Love Lies Beneath is the map. Be sure to subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss any of this enriching journey. And now, let the adventure begin.
Zette Harbour 1:42
In Episode 7, I am talking with Dr. Laura Grace, Jungian counselor and dream specialist. Laura and I have had many conversations about archetypes, imagery, dreams, and the the epic themes of life. And I’m so delighted that Laura is joining me today. We’re going to do something a little different. Laura is gonna actually ask me questions about the next section in the book, which is the Dragons & Zombies section. So looking forward to the journey, we’re about to go on together, Laura, thank you for being here.
Dr. Laura Grace 2:20
I’m so glad to be part of this call. Thank you for having me. And I, I’m really excited about delving into your new book, because it’s a wonderful read.
Zette Harbour 2:31
Thank you so much. Yes, you’ve been one of the great supporters and someone that I’ve enjoyed having these conversations with, you know, so often on our beachwalks, where we talk about dreams and archetypes, life and story. So thank you for taking the time today. And, yeah, let’s get started with those dragons and zombies.
Dr. Laura Grace 2:52
Okay, just for those of you who may not be familiar, maybe you’re a new listener to Zette’s podcast, I just want to share a little bit about her background because it’s very extensive, and it’s cutting edge the work that she’s been doing it particularly in the realm of neuroscience. For those of you who don’t know, Zette is a Certified Professional Coach and an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner with the Institute for Professional Excellence. And she’s also a Certified Brain Health Coach with Amen University. And Zette I know, you know, we both love Dr. Daniel, Amen’s work in the realm of neuroscience. And also Zette is trained in the field of NLP, Neuro Linguistic Programming.
Dr. Laura Grace 3:34
So she has shared her professional traditional storytelling in many realms, including at the annual Central Coast Women’s Symposium that I used to host and produce. Then she’s performed widely for audiences. Her recordings have been aired on NPR and other local stations. So Zette’s storytelling background is pretty expansive, and she has shared that widely. And so I kind of wanted to start there, when we’re talking about your new book, Love Lies Beneath,ow reclaiming my soul through story became the secret to healing my heart, which is now available on Amazon.
Dr. Laura Grace 4:13
You know, for those of you who may not be familiar with your storytelling work, or maybe they’re listening for the first time, you talk about dragons and zombies being our stories, right? And I’m just curious, why stories is such a significant part of this book. It’s almost like you’ve used it as a framework, a foundation for this beautiful personal story that you have so really courageously, in a vulnerable sense, shared with your readers.
Zette Harbour 4:46
Thank you so much. You know, I really stumbled into storytelling almost 30 years ago now. And when I say stumbled, I had no idea that people did such a thing, either for fun or for, you know, a profession. I was working with wonderful therapist who, she drew from a real diverse selection of methodologies. You know, cognitive behavioral therapy, Jungian therapy, probably some NLP, you know, all kinds of things, dream work. I got to really explore the world of imagination as part of my journey working with her. And so in really learning about the way Carl Jung, and then Joseph Campbell, were talking about myths and stories. I was rereading Rumpelstiltskin, to my older daughter, who was very young at the time, I think about four or five. And I just recognized the amazingly powerful archetypal message and story that was coming through what was really quite a familiar folktale, I remembered it from when I was a kid.
Zette Harbour 6:02
And I tell you, I just fell hard, I fell in love. Story truly is one of the great loves of my life. From early on, I recognized that these folktales were mirrors that I could really hold up and see myself in new ways, and make discoveries, and change, and shift, and expand my story of who I thought I was and who I could be. And then I realized how I would be able to share that with other so I, would share workshops around story and story as a mirror with others over the, you know, the past 29, 30 years. So when it came time to write this book, I 100% knew because folktales were, they were almost like mentors to me through my own journey. And I knew that I wanted to share that way of seeing story and experiencing story in this book. And you know, I just love story. And the first one I share in the book, is Rumpelstiltskin, because it was the story that it was, it was like Alice falling down the rabbit hole. That story took me to a land that I had no idea could exist.
Dr. Laura Grace 7:12
Yeah, and you know, folktales like, we know we both do a lot of dream work, there’s so much metaphor, an archetypal energy flowing through folktales. Y ou can look at them almost as you could a nighttime dream and vice versa, right. We can look at the nighttime dream as folklore. And there’s just those folktales that are so rich with almost like timeless information and wisdom. It really doesn’t matter what point in history that we’re living in, we can use the characters and look at the landscapes and the journey that they’re on the themes that are popping out and see how they apply to our own lives. So, I love that you really brought stories into this book.
Dr. Laura Grace 7:53
You use tree as a metaphor in the Dragons & Zombies section, which we’re talking, this is close to the front of the book. You use trees as a metaphor for our existence, which I love that, I’ve always seen trees as the feminine. You know, the woman, a branch is being like the arms rising up to the light or the sky. And then you’ve got the beautiful trunk and the roots that are going down to the ground, which to me represent Soul and all the mucky, muddy work that we do when we’re on this path of individuation. You write, “Story is a form in which the nutrients rise within the roots.” So for people who are listening, you know, understanding that we both have a personal and a collective story, how can someone tap into their personal story at this particular point in their lives? I wonder what are some of the signs or maybe the symptoms that point to their particular story?
Zette Harbour 8:51
Yeah, that’s a wonderful and beautiful question. Thank you. Yeah, the sensation, if we just imagine our own energy traveling down through our roots into the soil of our lives, right, that, that you can have that almost physical sensation and connect to the energy that’s there. I think what’s, you know, to me, what’s most interesting, is we don’t necessarily even get our attention called to our stories unless they are causing us stress, fear or pain. Typically, if we are living out and experiencing, or inhabiting, as I like to say inhabiting a story that, you know, we feel good about, that has results that we feel good about, we don’t even notice that it’s there. And why would we? Why would we change something that’s delivering the results that make us feel good?
Zette Harbour 9:40
It’s those stories that show up in our lives, where we feel that stress, fear, pain, in, you know, varying degrees for each one of us. And that signal, that’s the messenger, is the stress, fear and pain, and it to take it to the tree metaphor. It’s like looking at a tree and when you see, part of the tree, the leaves may be curling up, or turning brown or yellow, somehow dying or they’re diseased, you know that there’s something going on with the tree. And so if my outer experience is like those leaves that are not doing well, that are sickly on the tree, that’s what I’m going to notice.
Zette Harbour 10:22
I’m not going to think to myself, Oh, there’s something going on under the soil deep in my roots, that’s causing these leaves to become sickly. We look at the leaves and think, Oh, I should fix that. So often, you know, we’re experiencing a situation, which is a story, that causes that stress, fear and pain. And we think we should fix that thing, or that person, that’s involved in that story with us, right? So if we recognize that the the leaves changing like that are the call to go down into the root system, and find out where are the roots needing to be tended, to be cared for, to be nurtured, to be given more of whatever it is they need. Because when we heal the roots of a tree, guess what’s right, the leaves flourish, the rest of the tree flourishes. And the same is true for us.
Zette Harbour 11:16
So rather than thinking, Oh, it’s this person, they are making my life so miserable. You think to yourself, ah, you know, I have felt this kind of stress, fear or pain before. Therefore, I can say, yeah, I’m, I’m getting an invitation to spend time with something deep in the soil of my life. So it’s a great opportunity to take some time. And if you’re someone who already meditates or journals, or does any sort of really centering stuff, you know, art, music, dance, any kind of prayer, yoga, you’ll be able to tap into those roots in your own soil more easily.
Zette Harbour 12:08
But let’s say you’re someone who doesn’t do any of those things, right? What can you do? When you feel that stress, fear, or pain, and you don’t even know how to connect to the soil, and the roots of your story. One of the things that I learned to do that just sort of I developed for myself was to look at those that stress, fear and pain and say, I see you, I embrace you, I appreciate you, and I love you. And then I could just let it be, I didn’t have to dig into it or get all muddy, you know, spend hours in order to actually be present, to be welcoming to be appreciative and to love the part of me that was showing up through that experience.
Dr. Laura Grace 12:51
Okay, Ilove that. It does make perfect sense. When we’re looking at the upper part of the tree, we’re looking at the symptoms, right? I mean, we’re not really looking at what’s going on on a Soul level. And so much of this book, you’re focusing on Soul. You know, even in Dragons & Zombies, which I love. I love the title of this section, because I actually had a class on zombies, from a metaphorical standpoint on zombies, in my doctoral program in depth psychology, because our professor thought so many of us are walking this Earth right now, in zombie mode.
Dr. Laura Grace 13:28
You know, we’re inundated with so much information. We’re not tapped into our roots in the soil. We’re carrying old trauma that has yet to be resolved, right? I mean, there’s just so much of what we’re carrying around that isn’t allowing us to be present. How many times do we walk down the street, we want to connect with the person that’s going to walk by us, but they’re gone, right? They’re just checked out. So in this section, and this is going back to what you were talking about the parts of us that need to be seen, you use the term that the dragons and zombies represent pieces of our Soul, and that these Soul parts have been cut off. Here’s a quote from the book you write, “So parts you have cut off, wait patiently for the day you call them back call.”
Dr. Laura Grace 13:52
So, you know, from a depth perspective, you’ll gain perspective. We know these are the parts of this where the shadow lives, right? These are the aspects that either consciously or unconsciously we haven’t been able to assimilate or integrate into, you know, the wholeness of ourselves. We’re not quite ready. So what I’m curious about is how could somebody who’s listening right now begin to, once they’ve identified these parts that need to be seen or waiting to be seen or integrated, how do they go about calling these aspects back home? I’m curious about what did that process look like for you?
Zette Harbour 15:20
Thank you for that. Yeah, it’s so interesting. I do think of those things as dragons and zombies, as I kind of described in the book, because our mind, and typically these are things we create when we’re very young, very vulnerable, when we’ve had something happen, that was physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually overwhelming, and felt incredibly threatening. And just in order to navigate that level of, you know, feeling of threat and feeling of danger, when we don’t have the resources outside of us to support us, we have one thing left, and that is our mind. And as a child, I don’t have a lot of choices about what I can come up with. My experience, right, my experience of life is so limited. So I do the best I can. And so I create things that are going to look and feel scary, because they are warning signs to the rest of me, do not go here, like the dragons on the edges of the map, right? You know, warning sailors don’t sail past this point, because you don’t know, it’s going to be bad.
Zette Harbour 16:34
And so I was able to create, sort of, boundaries in my own mind by placing these, ‘dragons’ around the edges of what was safe for me to think about, or believe about myself. And you know, when you have a very limited map, you have a very limited ability to travel and to explore and to discover. And then the zombies, you know, those are those parts of myself mainly, that, you know, it’s the part where you think you see something in yourself. You feel something, and it’s ugly, and you don’t like it. You’re like, no, that is not who I am. I’m just not even gonna look at that. That is ugly, gross. It’s just, it’s trying to kill me, right. So it’s just it’s an it’s an exaggerated reaction.
Zette Harbour 17:18
But it is the reaction of a mind that, just, that’s the best they can do at the time. And therefore, it’s really coming from that place of love. And that’s why really, the whole book is Love Lies Beneath because even the dragons and zombies were created from a place of love, because that was the best tool, our mind and our heart and our Soul had at the time, to protect us and keep us safe enough to keep moving forward. And so, you know, if someone is recognizing that there are experiences in their life that feel familiar, but don’t feel good. They’ve sort of you know, same song, second verse, so much louder, so much worse. I don’t know if you remember that camp song. That’s how I feel about that.
Zette Harbour 18:10
And so when you recognize and you know, if you give yourself grace, Laura Grace, right? We give ourselves grace to, to say, okay, this is familiar. It does feel a lot like it’s that person. And the feelings I have are so really uncomfortable for me and so repulsive, even, that I feel like they’re the walking, you know, the undead, and they’re trying to, you know, eat me, eat my whole, you know, eat my face off. And, and yet, they’re not really because what’s interesting is, when we actually do the process of saying, you know, I see you, I embrace you, I appreciate you, I love you, the zombie immediately transforms. And it doesn’t even mean that you’re going to have suddenly this really, you know, amazing, conscious understanding of what’s happening. But you know, you don’t have to because the part of you that created that scary thing to warn you. It doesn’t really require analytical discussion. What it requires his presence, acceptance, caring, love.
Dr. Laura Grace 19:18
Yeah, I agree. You know, I was listening to a podcast yesterday called The One You Feed and the interview was with somebody who specializes in the inner critic. And he talks about the internal family system. And these are all the different voices, and there are many voices that we’re all carrying, that are from the three year old, throwing a tantrum about what we’re not doing right, to the 35 year old, saying, you know, we’re just not getting it together to ever succeed.
Dr. Laura Grace 19:49
He was talking about how each one of these voices need to be listened to, and they all have a place to be heard because the bottom line is, they’re all trying to protect us. They’re coming from fear. So we’re not talking the highest vibration, nothing like love but in their own misunderstood way they’re trying to help us navigate through life. So he’s saying the same thing that you are, that sitting with this, not resisting it, not judging it, keeping an open mind, just trying to like use curiosity to find out what is the message? Why are they showing up. And so it makes so much sense of what you’re saying about the dragon and zombies represent any Soul parts have been cut off.
Zette Harbour 20:50
Reclaiming myself, diving into the soil of my own life, tending my roots, on all those four levels, right, spiritual, emotional, mental, and physical. Tending on all four levels, is what has enabled me to show up in my life in the way I am right now. And share this book because I’ve wanted to write a book for many years. It really was this particular year that I was able to really see the story clearly, see the pathway through the story clearly, and feel just really called and supported in telling the story and sharing it. And I’m really grateful that you have been a part of that, too, Laura, thank you,
Dr. Laura Grace 21:33
Thank you for having me be part of your life, All the stories that you include in this book about yourself, and then you’re so beautifully tied into how it can apply to those who read the book, and understanding their own journey, you really do show that love is underneath. It really does lie beneath everything that we go through. I mean, we tend to see things as difficult lessons, but it’s all to get us to see to really, not be zombied out, and not be afraid of our dragons, to really see that there’s this gentle, compassionate presence that is forever patient, helping us to understand that the really, the only reason that we’re here is to remember that we’re Love. And we can easily forget that with all the fear thinking that dominates this world.
Zette Harbour 22:48
It’s as if we’re lost in the wilderness. And there’s a voice and it’s calling to us, right? It’s calling and calling. And it knows that in order for us to get back to where the voice is, we’re going to have to, you know, climb up some steep hills. We’re going to fall down into some brambles. We’re going to get stuck in some mud. We’re going to scrape our knees, all those things will happen. The voice isn’t calling us in order that we may suffer. But the voice understands that returning home means that we will get some bumps, bruises, and scrapes. They’re part of the journey. And that at its core, the journey is really about coming home to ourselves.
Dr. Laura Grace 23:27
It really is the same thing, you know, can be said for our nighttime dream. So many times people are scared of the characters that are showing up or the landscape, or the dream theme and nightmares, and it’s the same thing. It’s Soul speaking to us, wanting to help us. It’s just that we’re not always looking through the lens that feels friendly and, and compassionate. But it’s the same thing. It’s always calling us back home. So I really want to thank you for having me as a part of this discussion about your new book and and for sharing your light so beautifully with all of us
Zette Harbour 24:06
Thank you, Laura, thank you so much. And yes, the dream work is such a big part of it. And we will definitely be setting up a podcast interview where I’d love to have my listeners learn more about working with their dreams. In the same way that I learned to work with folktales and imagery and listen to the voices of the Soul through those stories that emerge in our nighttime dreams.
Zette Harbour 24:49
I want to read a passage from my book to you that Laura and I have been discussing. It’s called dragons and zombies
Zette Harbour 25:01
Early mapmakers placed images of frightening Mythical Beasts on the edges of the safely traveled world that they knew. ‘Here Be dragons’. My own inner edges were very clearly defined. And I understood that to venture beyond my known borders was a considerable risk. I knew the pain was there, I just did everything I could to avoid actually looking at it. Over time, it became clear that avoidance was a temporary measure. When I sent my unwanted feelings packing, I had hoped that they would eventually lose interest and disappear. It was both a blessing and a curse to learn that they would never leave me.
Zette Harbour 25:45
On the one hand, it was reassuring to realize that I had not permanently dismembered myself. On the other, it meant that one day I would have to face them all. Having shoved the unwanted, damaged chunks out my front door, I discovered something. All of the exiled portions of my soul prowled like zombies wandering around my front yard. Over the years, they had grown into a tormented mob. Anytime I opened that door, they rushed it and tried to get back in. But they were ugly and dead and seemed to want to consume me. So I forced them back and slammed the door shut.
Zette Harbour 26:27
It was not until I awakened to the truth of where they had come from and where they belonged, that I was able to begin welcoming them home. As I did, those orphaned parts of my Soul returned. It turned out that they did not ever want to eat me alive as I had feared. And when I was able to see them as beautiful, appreciate the sacrifice each one had made, and accept them as invaluable members of myself, my fear subsided.
Zette Harbour 27:00
This shift in my story was a key to reclaiming my Soul, which led to healing my heart. Now, I was able to look beyond the fear and pain that had created these monsters, and see their origins. At the deepest core of all that had happened, and all that my soul did in response, lies Love. The journey to reunite with this deep part of myself is the purpose of life. It was in finding my way back home that I discovered who I am, and why I am here. I now understood that the dragons and the zombies were there to protect me.
Zette Harbour 27:43
Zette Harbour 27:46
You have dragons and zombies, too. They are the stories you have laid down to staunch the bleeding from your original wounds. They are pieces of your Soul. They come from the place within you that holds all of the truth of who you are, and why you are here. In times of pain and fear, Soul cracks open and allows just enough of you to be sent away in order to gain a sense of control over the conditions of your life. These little or sometimes big parts of yourself, agree to carry the burden and the grief off to some inner hidden corner. Then when safely buried, the mind continues coping with the challenges at hand.
Zette Harbour 28:31
The removal of the worst part of the pain was essential to being able to carry on. What was happening was still painful, but the tsunami of emotion had been halted for at least the moment. For most, the big ones occur early and your child’s mind cannot resolve your intense and scary feelings. If you do not have the support to resolve your pain and grief from the adults in your life, you naturally cannot do it yourself. And so a temporary fix allows you to separate from the hurt just enough to let you survive. The Soul parts you have cut off wait patiently for the day you call them back home.
Zette Harbour 29:14
At first it will seem contradictory to want to get closer to your stories of wounding. You had banished them for a good reason. That is why it is essential to understand that your deeper wisdom arises from the absolute unending wellspring of love that lies beneath that comes to your aid.
Zette Harbour 29:36
Paradoxically, you will know that they are ready to reunite with you by the discomfort and stress you feel. This is what the invitation feels like at first. That is because when you initially built your moat, you did a great job of creating an intimidating space. It is cold, dark, and deep, and it makes sense that it would seem like a bad idea to dive in there. The good news is, that now you are fully equipped with sophisticated diving gear, and the resources to take care of yourself while in the process.
Zette Harbour 30:14
This will be different from your earlier times of trauma. This time, you will hear a sound that you have heard so many times, you seemed never to have heard it at all. It is the sound of your Soul, reminding you that these parts of you hidden within want to be resurrected. You will feel their yearning to be brought back out into the warmth and the sun. This will sound, look, and feel like those early wounds but only in the way that hologram appears to be like the real thing.
Zette Harbour 30:47
Remember the hologram of Princess Leia in the first Star Wars movie? It looked and sounded just like her from every angle. The projection appeared to be alive and three-dimensional. Only if Luke had actually tried to touch her, his hand would have passed right through. The holograms of your exiled wounds are of a much higher quality. They look sound, smell, and even taste like the real thing. Your emotional reaction to them will also resemble the original. The reason for this is that they do still exist only in a different dimension. Your inner R2D2 carries the recording and will play it for you over and over to enlist your help.
Zette Harbour 31:34
They want to be remembered. This kind of re-membering is the conscious rejoining of those amputated parts of yourself. While this may sound gruesome and painful, it is the path to healing, wholeness, and self love. Your buried wounded parts will make themselves known. by appearing in painful situations that feel familiar. You will recognize them as you sense that this kind of disappointment, betrayal, or loss keeps happening over and over. This is not proof that life wants you to suffer.
Zette Harbour 32:13
It is the voice calling to you in the wilderness so you can find your way home. When these patterns repeat in your life, it is Soul inviting you into conversation with those parts of yourself that have been abandoned, cut off, or exiled as a way of managing your pain. As you come belly to belly and face to face with these fragments, you reconnect to the Love that lies beneath their origin. The story found within those origins is the key to reclaiming your Soul. Restore and remember your disdained and rejected dragons and zombies. As you do, you will find that this is the truest path to healing your heart.
Zette Harbour 33:11
The Story Tree.
Zette Harbour 33:14
I imagine that my existence is like a tree. The leaves of the tree are how my life feels. The aches and unhappiness in my heart are like the leaves becoming sickly, turning yellow or brown. If I tried to paint the leaves green or apply chemicals or water onto them, I will not restore health to the tree or free my heart from pain. The answer is to tend the roots. Soul is the root system of the tree. The soil and all of the richness within it represent the love that lies beneath. The trunk branches leaves, blossoms and fruits to receive nourishment from the soil that must travel through the roots.
Zette Harbour 34:00
Likewise, the me that takes up space in the world, extends her reach out toward the sun, receives the light, and shares her bounty with the world, must be nourished through Soul. Story is the form in which the nutrients arise within the roots. It moves through the cells of the trunk branches and leaves. If the story is healthy and vital, so are they. That is how roots and nutrients, soul and story, together contribute to the tree’s well being and me. Story is how I can reconnect to roots that may have been abandoned and cut off. Within story I find the keys to restoring health to my heart and peace to my mind by reclaiming my Soul.
Zette Harbour 35:03
As you make your way through your own wild inner landscapes, as you’ve traveled through this wilderness on your journey, to come home to yourself, consider how those people, those events, those ideas, those stories that you have about yourself, your world and your place in it, make you uncomfortable or cause you stress, fear or pain. And invite, just for a moment, the idea that those frightening and uncomfortable people and stories and events may just be messengers, trying to call you home in a way that comes from a place of great love.
Zette Harbour 35:49
Give yourself a moment with those scary places with those dragons with those zombies. And allow yourself to let them know that you see them. See if you can wrap your arms around them, welcome them home, let them know that you appreciate that they are there, and that they have some gift for you. And then leave some room to let them know that you love them.
Zette Harbour 36:17
As always, I encourage any listeners to make sure you subscribe to this podcast so that you do not miss a single part of this adventure. This is a journey into our inner wild landscapes. And I am excited to take this journey with you and to bring along these beautiful people like Laura who have so much wisdom and so much soul connection that we can all on this journey let our lights beam more brightly into the world. And in doing so inspire everyone around us. So I am really delighted to have shared this time with Laura. I thank her for being my interviewer on this podcast. Thank you so much Laura.
Dr. Laura Grace 36:58
You’re so welcome Zette. It’s been a real honor for me as always, like we could talk for hours. It’s always a fulfilling, uplifting journey whenever we talk, whenever we chat. So thank you so much for having me be part of it.
Zette Harbour 37:13
You’re welcome. And I’m so delighted. And to all my listeners. I look forward to hearing more from you. Let me know what you think. In the comments. Connect to me on my website ZetteHarbourCoach.com. Go raibh míle maith agat!